Consulation on abolishment of upper age limit for skilled migrants

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is currently holding a consultation on whether to recommend raising the maximum age limit for skilled migrants who can apply for visas.

The current age limit for applicants for skilled migrants under the SkillSelect scheme, formerly known as the General Skilled Migrant program, is 50 years. Fears have been raised that the current age restriction may be illegal because it clashes with Australia’s Age Discrimination Act.

However, there are also fears that, if Australia were to raise the age threshold, then older migrants would contribute less to Australia. They would be in work for less time before they retire and then become a burden on the Australian state.

The ALRC released an issues paper titled Grey Areas: Age Barriers to Work in Commonwealth Laws on 1st May 2012. It is currently holding its second consultation period.

The state government of South Australia argued that the upper age limit ought to be increased. Its position is that Australians are living longer and retiring later and so older migrants will offer more for longer.

The ALRC’s current position is that it need not recommend an abolition of the maximum age on discrimination grounds. Its position is that, while the age limit seems to be, on the face of it, discriminatory, as applicants are not, at the time of their application, members of the Australian workforce, they are not covered by the Age Discrimination Act. It also recognises that there is no upper age limit for applicants for temporary work or ‘457’ visas.

The ALRC continues to take submissions until November 26th 2012. It is due to issue its report in March 2013.


Category: Migration News
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